Game 122: Ducks at Skeeters

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Welcome to arguably the Long Island Ducks’ most important series of the year. With 19 games left in the season, every game is important. That said, the next seven games against the Sugar Land Skeeters will go a long way in determining the fate of the Ducks playoff chances this year. Long Island currently sits two games behind the Lancaster Barnstomers for the final wild card spot in the league and three games behind the Somerset Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division. On the other hand, the Skeeters are currently in first place in the Freedom Division, 1.5 games up on the Barnstormers.

If the Ducks were to have a successful series against the Skeeters, the benefits would be three-fold. Not only would it improve the Flock’s record and bring them closer to first place in the division and wild card standings, but also potentially knock Sugar Land out of their Freedom Division. That works out in favor of the Ducks, as Long Island holds the tiebreaker over the Skeeters but loses the tiebreaker to the Barnstormers. It is advantageous for the Flock to battle against Sugar Land for a potential wild card spot than it is against Lancaster. For further details on the Ducks current playoff scenarios, please CLICK HERE.

The Ducks are coming off the heels of a four-game sweep over the Camden Riversharks at Bethpage Ballpark. It was a dominating series for the Flock, who outscored the ‘Sharks by a 26-5 margin. That includes an 8-3 victory last night in the series finale. Highlighted in the victory were three-hit efforts from Lew Ford and Adam Bailey, six strong innings from starting pitcher Doug Arguello and Brendan Harri’s seventh home run of the season. A three-run bottom of the first inning put the Flock in front for good. In fact, Camden never led once throughout the entire series.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Monday, complete with the audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez, Bill Hall and Arguello.

Tonight, Long Island sends John Brownell to the mound for his league-leading 26th start of the year. The third-year Duck enters 12-8 on the year with a 3.73 earned run average. The righty leads the league in innings pitched (173.2) and complete games (5), while ranking second in wins (12) and strikeouts (117). While Brownell has not won in his last four starts, he has tossed a quality start in six of his last seven appearances. In four starts against the Skeeters this year, Brownell is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA (six earned runs over 30 innings).

His counterpart tonight, Steve Hammond, will be making his 24th start of the year. The first-year Skeeter is 9-8 this season with a 3.35 ERA. His 3.35 ERA ranks seventh in the Atlantic League, while his 106 strikeouts over 128 and two-thirds innings ranks fifth. The southpaw has gone six straight games without allowing more than three earned runs, and has only allowed more than three earned runs in a start twice this year. In two starts against the Flock this year, Hammond is 0-2, having allowed nine runs (six earned) over 11 innings (4.91 ERA).

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 14th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and fourth of 10 games between them in Texas. The Ducks lead the series 9-4 and have a 2-1 lead on the road. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 53 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 30-23 lead overall and a 17-6 advantage at Constellation Field.

Starter Domination: All four Ducks starters earned victories in their four-game sweep of the Riversharks. Thanks to Doug Arguello’s six innings of one-run ball, Ducks starters combined to post a 0.62 ERA in the series, yielding just two earned runs over 29 innings of work. They also combined to allow just 22 hits and 3 walks while striking out 18 batters.

Sweeping the Sharks: Long Island’s four-game sweep of Camden was their fifth series sweep of 2014 and second against the Riversharks. Their first sweep came July 4 through 6 at Bethpage Ballpark. The Ducks finished the year with a 13-7 record against the Riversharks, including an 8-2 mark at home.

Harris is Heating Up: With two hits on Monday, Brendan Harris extended his hitting streak to 14 consecutive games. During the streak, Harris is batting .393 (24-for-61) with five doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, 13 runs and six walks. He has multiple hits in six of the 14 games. His solo homer in the first was his seventh longball of the season. Three of his homers have come since the start of August.

Ford’s on Fire: With three hits on Monday, Lew Ford earned his team-leading 15th three-hit and 47th multi-hit game of the year. He has now hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games and 22 of his last 25 contests. Over his last 21 games, the former big leaguer is batting .412 (35-for-85) with 12 doubles, two homers, 17 RBI, 20 runs and five walks. Nine of the 19 games in that span in which he recorded a hit were multi-hit contests. His double in the sixth inning was his league-leading 37th of the season.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett hit a single in the third inning on Monday and has now hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games. In those 18 games, he’s batting .365 (27-for-74) with four doubles, one triple, one homer, 16 RBI and six runs. Seven of the 16 games with a hit have been multi-hit contests.

Bailey’s Big Night: Adam Bailey picked up his 10th three-hit game and 38th multi-hit game on Monday. He has now hit safely in eight of his last nine games, earning multiple hits in seven of them. In those nine games, Bailey is batting .457 (16-for-35) with two doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and six runs.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast with live streaming audio on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – SS
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#6    Bill Hall – DH
#11 C.J. Retherford – 3B
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C

#7   John Brownell – RHP

Skeeters
#41 Adam Godwin – CF
#9   Rene Tosoni – 1B
#24 Delwyn Young – DH
#16 Travis Scott – C
#5   Chase Lambin – 2B
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS
#14 Denny Almonte – LF
#2   Michael Rockett – 3B
#6   Bridger Hunt – RF

#18 Steve Hammond – LHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Constellation Field as the Ducks open up a seven-game series against the Skeeters!

UPDATE (7:25): TOP 1: Ducks strike first on a two-out RBI single by Bill Hall! Steve Hammond throws over 30 pitches in the inning.

UPDATE (7:53): BOT 2: A sacrifice fly to center by Michael Rockett has tied the game at one.

UPDATE (8:42): BOT 5: Sugar Land takes their first lead of the night on a two-run single to center by Adam Godwin.

UPDATE (9:27): END 7: John Brownell has retired eight in a row, but the Skeeters still lead 3-1 after seven innings.

UPDATE (10:01): BOT 9: Ducks rally for four runs to take a 5-3 lead! RBI singles by Ford and Retherford and a two-run double by Puckett!

UPDATE (10:07): FINAL: David Kopp retires the side in order in the ninth, and the Ducks stun the Skeeters in the opener with a 5-3 victory!!

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Posted on September 2, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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